Randy Halprin

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December 2014

Randys Journals

12/9/2014
Do you ever wake up thinking 'something within me has to change:" ? For the  past couple of months that thought has been one of the first I have. Why?
Because over the past couple of years I've felt like I lost something. Something  more than going through a loss of someone you really loved or people in your life...something more than a religion or a certain set of beliefs. I have
been analyzing it over and over, feeling a bit of emptiness inside. I've felt  like the past years, while having some great things happen, have been a sort  of regression. I've felt like where I should be constantly moving forward  I've instead been taking steps back.
Not reverting to some old version of myself that got me into the mess I'm in, but definitely not having the spiritual  spark, the happiness and drive I had for many years. I'd become more cynical,
a bit less trusting and more suspicious...in some ways I do feel it is justifified,  but in other ways it is so contrary to who I really am. I want my smile back and my happiness. I want the drive to push and fight like I had. I want to be kinder. And so I decided a couple of weeks ago I would break away that  crust and dig myself back out. I'm getting there. I look forward to 2015.  I look forward to a new chapter.

So, as I write this we're currently on lock down. I had a sneaky suspicion that at some point in December they would do this to death row. Most guys  thought that if they didn't lock us down on the first of december then it
probably wouldn't happen until January because they've II the prison administration)  have already met their requirement of four shakedowns a year. This one right now makes five. But I've learned not to be surprised when these things happen. I mean, no one would've ever guessed that we would be on a lock down over
July 4th, but that happened so what is another one during the christmas holiday  season? Apparently Mr. Scrooge runs this place.

I did want to rant a little bit...I find it interesting that people in the  media like to manufacture fake drama and scandals. I recently learned of some  VICE magazine article that was going on about Charles Manson getting married, as if there weren't more pressing issues in the world to cover like say,
BILLIONS OF PEOPLE STARVING TO DEATH RIGHT NOW or something.
I'm just saying! I guess from my understanding of the article it then went into murderbilia stuff,  which I sincerely find appaling. Apparently I was mentioned in this article because someone is trying to sell a letter of mine. I have to be honest and say that I was sincerely pissed off at this. One, I think it is disgusting  for people to either profit from a crime or exploit guys back here who are  clueless and put a certain ammount of trust in those who write them. All I  can say is shame on you/them...
We're vulnerable in the sense that most of the guys who get penpals only want a connection with the outside world...they  want friends and a feeling of family. I can't speak for everyone back here,  but I know for myself that having friends, being accepted and loved helps me to feel normal and not like some kind of societal pariah. I suppose the  irony is that we're deemed the monsters and yet there are people free whom  are monsters themselves...but back to the media...they play a hand in this  as well exploiting inmates and free people ,alike for a reader ship who suck; from the teat of pseudo drama and scandal...
Who really cares if Charles Manson got married? How about instead of trying to figure out ways  to keep convicts from getting married or whatever fake scandal there is, you  instead figure out ways of keeping people out of prison or off of death row.  You know, like real world solutions. Fuck, instead of paying 60 dollars for  a letter from some inmate you give that money to a worthwhile cause and help something instead of some sick ass dude exploiting both the victims and  convicted. THAT is the real scandal.

Whew...got that out of my system!haha. I'm actually having a difficult time  in forming any good thoughts write now because my neighbor, while an alright  dude, is driving me nuts from blasting his radio at
SEVEN IN THE MORNING.
I can't think. Hell, how can he think with what sounds like thunder  rattling in a tin can?

Not sure when they're going to get to C-pod, the pod that I'm currently on  for the shakedown. Because they have six pods to the building and C-pod is  in the middle I'm guessing it'll be closer to friday if they just started  today...which will give us a bit of time to get everything in order. We're only allowed a limited ammount of property so it can be a bit stressful trying  to guess what you're going to be able to keep and what the guards want to  throw away.

Well, fantastic! Now they're turning off the water. Something about a burst  pipe. A guy just asked the guard why he didn't give us a heads up so we could fill up ourGcups etc., or use the restroom and he said, " It slipped my mind."
I sure do appreciate your apathy Mr. Guard!

Peace


12/11/2014
Still on lock down and they haven't gotten to this pod to do the shake down  of our cells yet. I'm thinking it may be tomorrow. I'll be ready to just get  it over. There's always a slight anxiety that builds up until they've gotten  your search out of the way. Not that I really have any contraband, but just
the act of them tearing through your 'home' and essentially your private goods. It makes you feel a bit exposed and naked. Then, there's just thla fact that  anything you own doesn't really belong to you. There's not any single item
in my cell that truly belongs to me. It could be taken and thrown away at  any moment. It is one of the cold realities of being in prison.

There have been some interesting conversation that have been going on in in  the news and in politics about what constitutes as torture...there are many who believe that solitary confinement or " AD-SEG" II also known as Administrative  Segregation—doesn't that sound like some kind of dystopian,Hunger games District  12 type term???) is the equivelent of torture. There are many studies and  articles about it and it has been an issue on UN Councils and Congressional Meetings in the U.S. but it seems to just peter out after awhile. It has kind
of come back again with the release of de-classified documents that describe
in detail the CIA's torture program. I just read an interview with John Stewart  about a movie he did called " Roseweter " based on the arr:6611: , 1of Journalist  Maziar Bahari who was detained and tortured in Iran. The interviewer  states to John Stewart , " Solitary confinement is torture." Stewart replies, " I  don't think there's any question of that. We have this whole discussion of - .1 'Well as long as they aren't being water boarded then it's not turture.' But removing stimulation from someone will drive them insane."

I guess what is more surprising for me is that people act shocked that the  CIA had indeed been torturing people, I mean, we do it to our own citezens  sure, it's not water boarding, but if you think for second that prisoners  don't get beaten, starved, suffer sleep depravation, humiliated etc... You're  quite ignorant. Further more, I would argue that it is reductive to justify any of it by saying " Well, they're criminals they diserve it." It is childish MGM to try to make a moral equivalent of it. I can be cruel to you because you were cruel to me...Circular logic.
 But what the hell do I know?

In other news, I'm feeling kind of bad about something that happened a couple  of months ago and admittedly it was my screw up...A guy back here asked if  I'd take care of something and I dropped the ball and he's pretty upset with  me but I'm at the stage of trying to say 1) while I did mess up the situation  spun out of control. 'I had no control over the circumstance and 2) I consider  him a friend and would in no way ever try to intentionally screw him over.  But now there are other dude's trying to manufacture drama and put crap in his and it isn't helping much. Why is there the need to fuel drama? I'm starting  to think there are people, what do they call them trolls? that love to sit off on the sidelines and create chaos. So long as it is happening to someone  else then it is fine with them. They think it's funny as fuck...

That is what is happening in my part of the world. Full report;coming after we are sell searched. I hope tonight or tomorrow!

Peace


12/13/2014
Well, we've just had our 'shake down' of the cells and it went by without  any problems and the anxiety of waiting is over woo-hoo. Actually, I think  they were in a huge rush to get things done by the end of the weekend and  have us off of lock-down by monday. It seemed like they made more of a mess than actually go through everything. The way that they do it now is they give  us a big red bread crate. Our property has to fit within the crate and any excess property is then confiscated. I'm usually within compliance because I get moved every two weeks and I intentionally keep it light. Any books,  comics, magazines that I read I either donate or give to someone who wants  to read them. There's little I hold onto in that category. Anyways, so they  dump the crate over on the floor and start going through the items. Oy the  time you go back to yyour it looks like a bomb has gone off. Then, it is  get back to your cell, pick everything up, clean. Good times.

So...today is the 14th anniversary of the escape. I don't think I've ever  gone into full detail about it all and I have been going back and forth on  whether or not I wanted to write about it. I've given little accounts here  and there but it isn't something I generally discuss with anyone. Not with  friends, not with anyone back here. Sometimes guys back here on death row  will try to fish information or they have heard different stories from George  Rivas why doesn't it surprise me that he would boast about it???) or other guys and I'll give a shrug or a nod of the head and either deflect the conversation  or tell people, " I don't really talk about it." I will say this, though:
when asked 'was it worth it' or would I do it again, if given the chance  I emphatically say NO. That person, that head space I was in doesn't even  exist anymore. I'm not sure when that changed...I'm not sure when I felt  the helplessness and hopelessness end. I've been sad, I've felt like the  world was against me, but I don't think that for a very long time I've  felt as helpless as I did back in December 2000. I just truly felt like
I had nothing to lose. No friends, no family...nothing. I just wanted to start  over-as naive as that sounds. I wanted to disappear, create a new life and  start from scratch. If I had thought at any time a person would be hurt or  killed I would've never gone with those guys and that is just the straight  up;cOelieve this or not, but the escape and being on the run after was  designed so that no one would get hurt. I'm sure eyes rolled just reading
that, but I know that to be true. I can't say what went wrong, but I can
 say with honesty, I participated in NO violence towards anyone. I didn't  hurt anyone during the escape, I didn't hurt or kill anyone after. I know  where I stand with God on that. I'm not saying I'm not responsible for my  choices and actions before and after the escape. I absolutely am and I  absolutely accept whatever punishment should come from those choices. But  killer I am not.

Friday I recieved a letter from my Attorney. He's just accepted a job with  the Tarrant County DiA's Office' so he's with drawing from my case and I'll  be appointed a new attorney, but I wanted to share something he wrote in the  letter. I was touched by - his words, but they also kept me grounded by the reality of what I face.
He wrote :
" I wish you the best of luck in succeeding  in getting your conviction overturned. Having done this for many years I can  say with some degree of certainty that you are not the type of person who warrants execution and not the kind of person people who support the death  penalty think of when voicing that support. The problem is that it is some  times difficult for the legal system to differentiate between defendants, particulary where you are tried at a time when the jurors are caught up in the emotion of the offense."

So there you go.

I just paused for a second and was thinking about when the helpless and hopelessness  stopped. I thought about the people who've entered into my life. Even those who've jumped in and out. Even through finding great love and losing it...  those that have remained in my life, who have been mentors or friends-some  even becoming a family to me. It means more than anything in the world. I  like to say that life isn't a lesson in futility and that hasn't meant more  to me than right now. Kindness and friendship go a very long way and give  me the drive that I need. I'm grateful for it.
Not sure what I'm going to do the rest of the weekend. Probably spend it reading and doing the typical weekend stuff...

Peace


12/16/2014
Lock down ended yesterday and I was able to get outside. It was lovely to  breathe in some fresh air, jog and exercise. The guy that I was outside  was a bit on the strange side and spent a good chunk of the four hours we  were out talking to himself, but I didn't mind. It felt like spring with a nice breeze and sunshine splashing across the concrete so once I finished  working out I found a nice sunny spot and let the sunlight bathe me. I  zoned out and let my thoughts drift. It geve me a sense of euphoria and I  came hack inside incredibly hyper and happy.
Tonight begins the first night of Chanukah and while I'm not really religious or even 'believe' like I once did the traditions still mean a whole lot to  me. I like to spend that first night kind of reflecting and remembering
past Chanukahs as a kid. The first nights gift was always going to be a slinky without fail. Never changed and I'm not really sure how my mom and  dad started that tradition. It would be a square box and my brother and I  never had to guess what It was. Each night the gifts would get a bit better.  The eighth night would be the really cool gift. Some of the best one's that I can clearly remember were the Millinium Falcon from Star Wars...That  thing was huge and ran off like four D batteries to make sound effects.
I think the best gift ever was the stereo system I recieved when I was about 11 or 12 it had a double deck cassette player and record player with a high  speed dubber and equalizer. Until I got my CD player stereo when I was 14  that bad puppy recorded many a sappy love songs and mix tapes.
Dad would pull out the menorah which I believed belonged to my grandmother
and would place it on a plate and then would pull out a box of colorful candles,  we would say a prayer in hebrew and then light another candle for each night.  They are memories I will never forget.

Happy Chunkah!
Peace


12/25/14
Well, it's christmas day...we just had our meal and I have to say that it  wasn't bad at all. Of course there were the typical complaints from people  but I always tell them jokingly " Wow...first world problems, huh? Man! Life  is tough!" We had chicken breast, a slice of brisquet, a huge roll, carrots,  cabbage, onions...two pieces of pie and an apple and orange. Not too shabby  at all.

I was going to write a little something on christmas eve but couldn't really  find the emotional energy to do so. Christmas eve is always so difficult for me because my life irreversibly changed. I reflect and every year say to  myself-how in the hell did you get yourself into this mess? But please don't  interpret that as self pity. It's not. It's just that there's so much remorse  and regret-regardless of the fact that I didn't kill anyone...just the fact  that I was so fucking naive to believe that one, escaping was the answer and  that two, just because I didn't want to see anyone hurt that it didn't mean  it couldn't happen by others. So many lives changed. So many lives lost.
A family without a husband and father, a son...Be cynical about it all you  want, about what I say or write, but from the depths of my heart and soul I'm sorry this happened. I wish I could go back in time to my 23 year old
self and say " Look, dude...no matter how helpless and hopeless you feel right  now it will pass and things will get better. It's not worth everything that  will happen. It's not worth it."

And so I spent the evening in the dark reflecting. I do fully intend on writing  about everything in the memoir I'm currently writing. Just as a I feel there's  not an accurate account of the escape, I feel that there's not an accurate  account of christmas eve, 2000. The truth should be out there...

I woke up this morning and went straight to work to keep myself from falling  into a depression. I've just been working on some writing and cleaning etc.  I think I'll catch a few holiday movies this afternoon and tonight listen
to a commercial free cut of the BridesMaids...do funny! I love that movie.  Poeple think of the title and say oh...chick flick, but really not even close.  I laugh my butt off everytime. Tomorrow everything will return to normal and we'll prepare for the new year...
Which I really believe is going to be a good year for some reason. I haven't felt like an approaching year was going to be good for awhile, but I really believe it is.
I´m hopeful. It holds a lot promise and hope.

So, I coming from a semi-agnostic jewish guy...Merry Christmas!

Peace


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